10 Essentials to start your running journey


As you prepare to start running, it is essential to consider your running shoes, clothes and accessories along with your training plan, recovery and technique. This guide will explore all the equipment you need for a successful run. 

What gear do I need for running?

Choosing the right gear for running can improve performance and enjoyment and reduce the chance of injury. Start with a well-fitting pair of running shoes, then choose light clothes that will allow you to move freely. Finally, think about the conditions and plan ahead for accessories such as a water bottle or hat.

Use this list to help you plan:

  • Shoes

  • Socks

  • Shorts

  • Leggings

  • Sports Bra

  • Shirt

  • Layers

  • Hat/gloves

  • Water bottle

  • Accessories

What is the best footwear for running?

The best footwear for running is lightweight, comfortable and breathable. The best type of sole will depend on the terrain you encounter. During a run, your feet hit the ground with high force. Cushioning and padding in your running shoes and socks can act as a shock absorber, improving your comfort and performance.



The surface you run on will determine the type of running shoe you require. Look for shoes that support the shape of your foot and have cushioning to reduce the impact of each step. 

Cushioning will increase comfort and increase the weight of the shoe, so consider the terrain when deciding on a shoe. For example, trail running requires shoes with thicker, deeper treads. On the other hand, track or treadmill running is easier with flatter and lighter shoes. 

The correct fit prevents your foot from moving around inside the shoe, which reduces discomfort and blisters. Try on a range of running shoes before you buy them to find the right fit for you.

The North Face VECTIV™ technology combines a 3D plate and rocker midsole to turn energy into momentum for forward propulsion. The Men’s Flight Series Vectiv Shoes include this cutting-edge technology along with a rugged sole design. The construction of the midsole and heel will ensure a close, comfortable fit.



High quality running socks include seamless construction to reduce friction and extra padding in high-impact areas. Look for breathable fabrics that allow airflow, such as the mesh panels on The North Face Run Light Elite. These low-cut socks also have targeted cushioning on the ball and heel, where you need it most.

What are the best clothes for running?

The best clothes for running are lightweight, stretchy, and breathable. From shorts and a shirt in warm conditions to leggings and a jacket in lower temperatures, your clothes should allow easy movement and the evaporation of sweat. Avoid cotton which will absorb moisture, and loose fitting clothes which can cause chafing.

Related: What should I be wearing for running? 



Running shorts should be made from light, comfortable materials that allow air to circulate, moving sweat away from your body. The stretch-fitting Men’s Movmynt Shorts utilise a quick-drying, sweat-wicking fabric. They also include reflective detailing to increase visibility in the dark.


Running tights or leggings should allow freedom of motion while helping you maintain an optimum temperature. Choose leggings that are close-fitting, so that the fabric does not rub against your skin when you move your legs. The elasticity of the tights will reduce muscle vibration which helps to reduce fatigue. 

Some leggings are designed with varying degrees of compression in order to reduce the build of lactic acid, reducing muscle stiffness after a run. 

The North Face Active Leggings have a seamless, compressive fit and body-mapped patterns for extra ventilation, making them an ideal piece of equipment to help you achieve your running goals.


Sports Bra

A sports bra provides additional support to reduce breast movement during exercise, making your run more comfortable. The North Face Women’s Tech Bra is designed for maximum support on the trail without sacrificing style.



A good shirt for running will be light, stretchy and breathable. Cotton shirts are not advised for running. They will absorb sweat, becoming increasingly heavy and uncomfortable as you run. 

Look for technical fabrics that wick moisture away from the body as you perspire, keeping you dry and cool. Additional features can be chosen based on your preferences, such as reflective panels for safety in the dark or a phone pocket. 



Additional outer layers may be needed if you are running in the cold, wind or rain. Rather than choosing a thick jacket, look to build up layers of thin clothing. This will slow down heat loss from your body but also allow air to circulate to prevent overheating.

Your shirt is your base layer - light, stretchy and close to the skin. Merino wool or fleece long-sleeved tops work well as a lightweight, breathable mid-layer. Running jackets act as a waterproof outer layer when you are running in inclement weather.



In the winter, a hat and gloves may be needed to keep running in the cold. The head and hands are key areas for thermal energy loss. Fleece hats and gloves will slow down the heat transfer but prevent the build-up of moisture. Look for something light and compressible enough to be easily stored in a pocket just in case.

Water bottle

If you intend to run for more than an hour in hot weather, you will need to carry water to stay hydrated. Think about your specific needs when choosing a water bottle.

  • Handheld bottle. Available in a variety of shapes to assist holding in your hand as you run

  • Pockets. Running jackets or belts can include pockets and attachments for soft water bottles. Look for something that prevents the bottle from bouncing around as you run

  • Hydration vests. These vests are worn on your back to carry water comfortably and often include tubes that allow quick and easy access without disrupting your run



Running accessories can be chosen based on your personal preferences. Think through your planned run and which additional accessories may be needed.

  • Sunglasses

  • Earbuds or headphones to listen to music

  • Smartwatch or tracker to monitor performance

  • Vaseline or balm for areas susceptible to chaffing

  • Headlamp if you are off-road at night

How do you carry your phone while running?

Carrying a phone in your hand while running is the simplest option but least secure. Look for clothing with suitable pockets or use a belt or armband to reduce the risk of dropping. Think about how you may want to use your phone on your run and consider comfort and security along with ease of access.

Think about your own preferences to decide on the best place to put your phone when running. For example, do you want to keep it secure in case of emergencies? Or do you need quick access to change your soundtrack or check your route? Here are the main options for carrying your phone:

  • Hand. A strap or ring holder can help you hold your phone securely

  • Pocket. This could be in your shorts or jacket. Look for a pocket in a position that won’t cause uncomfortable movement

  • Waist Belt. Specialist running belts can include a pocket for your phone and other items such as a credit card

  • Armband. Strapping your phone to your arm allows access but keeps it out of the way of your legs and body

As you continue on your running journey, use this guide to assemble everything you need, maximising the enjoyment and effectiveness of your run. Prepare to discover new places, soak in nature and explore your potential. The adventure awaits.